Friday, December 19, 2008

My Treasure

When we were living in Dublin the first time, all those many years ago, we scavenged the most brilliant piece of artwork. It was a large canvas painting done by someone with decent artistic talent and a good sense of humour. Reaching down out of the sky, was the God figure from the Sistine Chapel. His outstretched finger pointed to an apple. A perfect, shiny, bright red apple, which just happened to be in the hand of Snow White.

As much as I loved the combination of two cultural touchstones with the representation of Original Sin, I loved the colours even more. The 'classical' half of the painting was in the subdued cream and brown hues of the original. The other half was in garish Technicolour.

We carried off that treasure and hung it in our flat until the day I had to move back to Cleveland. Peter moved a few times during the time we lived apart and at some point, the painting was thrown out. (Although I like to think that someone else saw its greatness and rescued it.) I have few regrets in life, but a tiny part of me really regrets losing that painting.

So, when a painting caught my eye at the Civic Amenity Centre, I couldn't say no. For all its grand naming, the Civic Amenity Centre is just our dump/recycling centre. You have to pay to leave trash, but recycling is free.

Next to the main dumpster, there's a shed to shelter the poor county council workers who have to collect the cash. I don't know if these workers pull out treasures when they see them or if sometimes, people separate out their trash from their junk, but I often see items sitting next to the shed, waiting for a new home. Random, bizarre stuff, like a Virgin Mary wall-mounted holy water dispenser or children's board games or garden ornaments.

A few weeks ago, I spotted a treasure that I just knew I wouldn't be able to pass up. It was a painting, not quite as brilliant as God Meets Snow White, but charming and mesmerising nonetheless. When I got it home, I was a little disappointed to realise that it's not a hand-made painting, but is some sort of commercially manufactured print. Even so, it's just tacky and kitschy enough that I can't help but love it.



At 19 December 2008 at 22:00, Blogger Babaloo said...

This is brilliant! Would've loved to see a pic of that first treasure of yours. Wonder where it is now...

Only a week ago or so, Felix "rescued" a copy of "Shadow Of The Wind" from the exact same spot. We were on the way to our friend Gina's and we brought it to her as a present. "Here, brought you something nice from the rubbish dump..." I found it really quite funny. It's a great book, by the way, if you ever come across it.

At 19 December 2008 at 22:04, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is brilliant.

At 20 December 2008 at 15:22, Blogger laurie said...

you're reminding me of how i acquired my favorite piece of art. it's a painting done on a piece of board, and i spotted it at an art fair the summer i was living in ohio. i had just quit my job at the newspaper to take a job at a magazine, and i was feeling a little odd about leaving newspapers behind.

the painting is of a guy in a fedora, sitting at a counter drinking a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper. it's called "double espresso man."

it was like a gift from god. he's reading a newspaper! i had to have that painting. but i had no money. and the guy wouldn't take a check. i hadn't been in ohio more than a day, and i had to ask the artist where i could find a cash machine and then beg him to hang onto the painting until i got back.

and i did. and paid him twenty-five dollars for it.

and i still have it.

and i still love it.

At 21 December 2008 at 02:04, Blogger Career Guy said...

"That's some pig!"

At 22 December 2008 at 18:07, Blogger Jack said...

That looks kind of fun.

At 24 December 2008 at 16:39, Blogger -Ann said...

Babaloo - Me too - but this was in the days before digital cameras and mobile phones.

Mac - Cheers. I'm rather fond of it.

Laurie - I think we're going to need a picture of this masterpiece!

Career Guy - 'That will do, pig.'

Jack - What I love about it is every time I look at it, I see a new detail.


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